Cue

As the Emancipator hit my nerves with Evergreen
I knew that exact moment I found my cue
I wore my heart on my sleeve
For a stroll to found my peace

The breeze was just fine like an old wine
As my hands followed the ripple kindled by the heavy wind
My eyes saw a vision, an ecstasy

A yellow light spills down through the mighty tree
Shining up my path, adding to my unusual glee
While I reached out to put it in the pocket closer to my heart
My thoughts were already dancing under your spell, sweetheart

Soon men made armour caught my ears
Soothing me to come out from that mirage, the illusion
I marched forward to catch hold of my peace
And stopped only for a quick release

Quickly my thoughts took another turn
Pulling my legs to head them back home
Then suddenly the breeze softly whispered in my ears
Asking me, who are you?
I told her, you are crazy, my kind of crazy

After I stepped into my warmth
I prayed for stars to speak to you tonight in dreams
That too loud and clear to tell you
You are mine and only mine
And we shall dance soon under the moon in its full might

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-3-18-37-am

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The NEXT Chapter Begins! #startupjourney

Last year and a half has been excitingly eventful. It all started in August of 2013, when I joined Parth & Nikhil in their startup TommyJams. I vividly remember the day Parth called me. It was 10 pm on 19th of July when Parth and I had our first conversation on joining TommyJams. In the beginning, I wasn’t too sure about the prospect, but after a couple of skype calls with both Parth & Nikhil the next day, I decided to take a plunge into the startup world. I was so excited that by 21st morning, I had my train (from Jaipur to Bangalore via Delhi) booked to make sure I join them on or before 29th of July at Microsoft Ventures.

Why is MUSIC a dear friend and Why did I join TommyJams?

Music is very close to my heart since childhood. I participated in a lot of music competitions (group category) during my school days. There was, in particular, two reasons why I was so mesmerized by music. First, it made me super-happy (for no apparent reason) and second, it gave me a sense of being present in this very world. That was my fascination with music in school. Now, what about college? At BITS, I was exposed to tons of new music and especially to Indian music scene. At around the same time, I started following music talent shows like X-Factor. Watching hundreds of artists/musicians fulfilling their dreams on the X-Factor stage gave me thrill beyond measure. By the start of 3rd year, I made a promise that one day I am going to do something for musicians. So, getting an opportunity with TommyJams, where I can do good to both artists and music lovers was a dream come true. And, I joined them to experience that thrill and energy again!

MS Ventures days!

During those 4 months (August – November), we, literally, worked our asses off for 10+ hrs every day for 7 days a week. It was FUN! I am not kidding. We worked together, laughed together, and ate together. To simply put it, we wanted to accomplish great things no matter what. Apart of immense business knowledge/ethics from entrepreneurs, mentors, aspiring entrepreneurs and fellow interns, I also develop my love for technology in here. Technology opened up my mind to infinite possibilities. It made me believe that we have resources to impact millions and billions of lives. Two very important traits/features that I improved during this period were “how to be happy in all situations and how to share”. I thank Parth! for making it happen. I admire his traveller spirit. Talking about Nikhil, he is totally different from Parth. I learned the importance of focus, and hustle from him. Learning from other MS ventures teams was incredibly helpful and inspiring, too.

Important decision to JOIN TommyJams full-time!

After my gig with TommyJams at MS ventures, I decided to join them full-time. My first two months (Jan-Feb) were focused on business operations. At TommyJams, business operations include maintaining a proper sync between an artist and a venue before an event, work collectively with all the team members, taking full responsibility of on the day event management (micromanagement), and smooth handling of payment procedure after the gig. In nutshell, providing a smooth and enjoyable gig experience to both the artist and the venue.

March-November period – A roller coaster ride! Learned the true meaning of a startup!

Just after MS ventures program, we were selected as top 100 startups around the world by StartupChile program. By mid-January’14, both Parth & Nikhil decided that it was a good opportunity for the company to explore international expansion and kickstart operations in Chile through the StartupChile program. It was a huge opportunity for me, individually, to head TommyJams India. For initial few months (after Parth & Nikhil left for Chile) we only had a team of 4 people (Nikhil, Parth, Nandan and me) who were running TommyJams in India and Chile. It was amusing in the beginning to play (work) in different timezones. I still remember waking up 3 or 4 o’clock in nights fixing bugs and discussing way forward with them. Similar, was the situation for both Parth & Nikhil. Virtual team management is difficult to sustain, therefore, we decided to meet twice a week (Monday and Wednesday/Thursday) on skype. These meetings were sort of mandatory. We exchanged over 30 emails every day continuously for a period of 3-4 months, properly going through every piece of work. I know you must be feeling that it is micromanagement and it is not good BUT it was the right thing to do. I was totally NEW to our business and it was every important that we do the right things, right from beginning. That helped me a lot in developing self-confidence as well. My curiosity took a totally different trajectory during this period. I was responsible for the company’s business here in India, so it was my job to keep our company fresh with new ideas/suggestions/feedback. And boy! that was FUN.

During this time, we also collaborated with Solstice Festival, to organize our first International festival in India on World Music Day (21st of June). By early May’14, we hired Abhijit to kickstart our Mumbai operations (he later played a significant role in sponsorship deals for the festival). Throughout the preparation, we faced huge challenges. We had only 2 weeks to make it and since it was World Music Day, many other venues and organizations like Alliance Francaise were organizing their own festivals/events. We were facing stiff competition to attract good artists and to convert more and more venues for hosting our festival. Daily routine was damn! busy. We were setting up meetings with venues, sponsors and calling artists right, left and center. We were, literally, on a 24-hrs clock every day and at one point it seemed that we would lose it BUT Abhijit nailed Millers sponsorship at the right moment and with most of our calls getting converted towards the end, we were right back on track. After 2 weeks of sweat, frustrations, devotion, rejections, we proudly organized pilot run across 12 venues in Bangalore. Convincing artists/musicians to perform for FREE (to keep world music day spirit alive) was a gruelling task for us. Fortunately, 10 out of 12 artists, who performed with us did it for FREE (closing deals feels so, so good! ). And Seeing 100s of music lovers turning up for our gigs at each venue was a delight to watch. I remember Sharath (a friend of ours, who was also helping us) and I were running from venue to venue on 21st June night, taking gig photographs, counting number of walks-in and making sure everything go according to our plan. Shout out to him as well for making it happen! AND A huge thank you to Construkt Festival team and all our friends, who supported us and contributed during the festival build-up and operations.

Time was running away, rather fastly!

By August second week, I ran out of all my steam. I just couldn’t work. I wrote a separate blog on my August month experience here. But with Parth & Nikhil’s support, I was back on track by the end of August. Things were looking fine again but around mid-September, I started having doubts whether I can continue further with TommyJams. I discussed my situation/options with a couple of friends, other entrepreneurs and my family and after my home visit (Diwali breaks), I knew that my time was up. I developed my fascination and curiosity for startups in mobile space during my time at TommyJams and thus, I started my search for startups where I can find this right opportunity. Vikas, a good friend of mine helped me and I was finally able to find my next chapter!

MOMOE!

I met Momoe’s co-founders in 1st week of November. After spending hours and hours over the next couple of visits, discussing their ideas, team structure, vision, mine and their past experiences (both at college and professional levels), I decided to join Momoe from 1st of December. Just to give you an heads up, we at Momoe have a vision to change the way WE LIVE. We provide you an easy mobile based payment solution to pay when you eat out, shop and commute. So, make sure you download and try out our app.

Final Thoughts

Today is 28th November (and my last official TommyJams gig) and with only two days left, I can’t believe my journey with TommyJams is coming towards an end. It has been such a fruitful and enriching experience both at personal and professional levels. Made a lot of new good friends, whom I can bug day and night. The sad part is, last year around the start of December, I joined TommyJams full-time and this year from December onwards, I would no longer be with TommyJams. BUT the good part is, I can see myself becoming the person I always fantasized. You know, a lot can happen if you throw yourself out in/for something/someone you love!

Also, I would like to appreciate Parth & Nikhil for their immense support and guidance. They played a very crucial part in my development. And I wish you guys my best.

To end, I am very ENTHUSIASTIC about my new chapter. Hope I can write a good story in this chapter, too.

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

next-phase

P.S. My inspiration behind this blog post is this song.

P.S.S. I have not tagged Sharath because he is currently unavailable on all social media platforms. Super busy! guy 😛

 

 

 

 

Gora – A Short Story

Gora is a short story [I like to call it a thriller] about Gora, a young boy from a small village in India. He makes his way into the corporate world using his sheer will and hard work and undivided support from his family. Now, he works for a MNC in one of the metropolitan cities in India. The story starts from a late night office scene, including the protagonist Gora and his boss. Soon it unfolds into a total….well read it to find what happens next.

[Story starts]

Gora ends his hectic day at office and packing up his bag. His boss, Ravi [manipulative, cunning, hard-working, and a liar] is very happy with Gora’s intelligence and work ethics, which helped him completing an important 2-month long project, well in advance [bonuses are huge for this project]. Gora, after days and days of struggle is smiling. Ravi uplifted his heavy spirit by telling him  – “Well done, Gora. We made it!” He had been waiting for those words. Praising is one thing Gora really needs from time to time.

[Thunderstorm]

Ravi: Well, I am heading home. I am assuming it is going to rain soon. Do you want me to drop you home?
Gora: Thank you Ravi, but I prefer going home alone today.
Ravi: I understand you are very excited but are you sure you want to go alone?
Gora: Yes!
Ravi: I feel right for your future at this firm. Keep doing the good work. Sleep tight!

[Ravi leaves the office]

As Gora is moving out from his office, clouds of confusion take over his joyful face. Confusion is one thing he really enjoys. It plays with his young adventurous mind. “Should I take a taxi or walk and enjoy this fortunate drizzle?” – He asked himself. After weighing up pros and cons, he decides to walk. [He his very thorough in his approach.]

“It is going to be a long walk” – he murmurs. Then, he looks up to the sky.

[Poor fellow can’t even imagine what lies ahead. It is definitely going to be a long walk.]

As he keeps looking at the sky, filtered rain drops by long naked tree leafs, wash away all his tiredness and confusion. This subtle rain reminds him, his village and beloved sister. He is thinking to call her but something stopped him. Then, he moves his dangling eyes toward the left of road. He sees a couple at the corner table, near the glass of a restaurant. Both are laughing, putting their hands over each other, giving each other warmth and enjoying their delicious food.

This brings a sudden laughter on his washed face. He thinks how he used to enjoy eating food from his sister’s plate and how it made her go nuts. Those moments are right there in front of his eyes. He wish to meet his sister soon. He is again thinking to call her but didn’t call. “It is going to be a long walk” – he reminded himself again.

Gora walks few more steps and sees a big salon. Neatly placed hair brushes, people dying their hair for the young look, some polishing their nails and others just gossiping and giggling. Men and women alike, all are here. He laughs again. People now giving him strange looks. “He is crazy” – a girl, standing close from where is passing by, told her girlfriend. Does you need any help young boy? – an old lady asked. “Nahi amma” – he replied. He is now hallucinating a scene where he and his friends are getting their hair cut under an old “peepal ka ped”. He is enjoying the weird faces and hair styles of those men and women in the salon. “The world is moving faster and becoming stranger each day” – he said to himself. It is 9:30 PM and he has travelled only 500m from his office in 30mins. “Everything seems slow” – he murmurs.

Then, Something strange happens. Gora can’t feel his ears. As he looks towards his right, a heavy wave of sound blows away his mind. “Noise is too loud”, can’t you fools think so?” – he shouted angrily. He never felt so much anger before. Drizzle is starting to grow now. “It feels like someone is throwing pointed nails at me” – he thinks. But Gora can’t do anything about it and he carries on. He needs to be home by 10 PM so he has started moving faster.

He stops at a tea stall to sip a hot cup of tea to soothe his soul [Gora totally forgot he is running late]. He sees people smoking and he is enjoying the smell. “I need one cig” – he told chaiwala. He coughs after taking it in. He tries again and coughs. Tries again and coughs. Ultimately decided to throw it away. He also sees people buying alcohol and thinks why so many people buy alcohol when actually it is bad for health. “Maybe it is good once a week” – he told himself. He is again confused. Confusion is what he likes. But this time he just wants to reach home soon.

Suddenly, his phone rings. It is his sister.  He is excited to talk to her after such a long time. He picks up the call and his sister tells him – “Gora, bhaiya, bhaiya, maa guzar gayin hain, aap jaldi se gaon aa jayo”. As he listened her sister speak, his heart suddenly stops. He is breathing fast, real fast. He doesn’t know where to go, where to sit. He is moving right, left, up, down and in every possible direction. He is going crazy. And as he tries to cross the road, a car struck him.

[boom] His blood is all over the road.

His sister heard something loud over the phone and says – Gora, Gora, kya hua, yeh awaaz kaisey hai. Gora tum theek toh ho na. Gora Gora Gora……..”

In the next scene, we see that Gora’s boss, Ravi, has been arrested at his house after hours of Gora’s accident. He is charged with use of illegal drugs.

[Story Ends]

rainy day

P.S. The name “Gora” is taken from the book “Gora” by Rabindranath Tagore